October 2019 Special Issue, Volume 24, Number 2
“Archives, Archival Practice, and the Writing of History in Premodern Korea,” guest edited by Jungwon Kim (Columbia University)
For any scholar interested in the human past in all its complexity, archives have long been considered primary repositories of information essential to a given people’s history. In premodern Korea, archives were gathered and housed not only in official or state storerooms but in unofficial sites such as the libraries of lineage associations and local academies. The use of underutilized and rare materials from unofficial sites in particular has cast important light on what and who were left out of the conventional historiography of premodern Korea. At the same time, the exclusion of documents pertaining to the lives of marginalized people as legitimate subjects of history raises the question of the diverse possible approaches to archival collection itself, which involves a series of decisions as to what to archive or discard, and why. Archives are thus not only products of recordkeeping and sites for the production of knowledge but also rich subjects for historical and cultural studies. With its focus on archiving and archival documents in various premodern Korean contexts, this special issue takes the archive beyond its usual definition as a collection of historical documents of the past. By addressing topics such as the formation and use of archives and the role of archives in the circulation of knowledge, this issue invites a vital conversation about how histories of the archive might reshape stories written from the archives in premodern Korea.
October 2020 Special Issue, Volume 25, Number 2
“Between the Sacred and the Secular: Christianity as Lived Experience in Modern Korea,” guest edited by Hyaeweol Choi (University of Iowa)
Modern Korea has been characterized as a “secular” country, yet Protestant Christianity (hereafter Christianity) has long been a critical force in shaping virtually every aspect of modern Korean life since its introduction to Korea in the late nineteenth century. Christianity in Korea has been intertwined with the histories of Western imperialism, Japanese colonialism, modern nation-state building, democracy movements and most recently neoliberalism. It has also made significant imprint upon class formation, gender relations and everyday life practice. Furthermore, South Korea has become a leader in sending missionaries overseas, taking a prominent role in global Christianity. How should we understand the ubiquitous presence of Christianity in “secular” modern Korea and beyond? Recent scholarship suggests that the boundary between the sacred/religious and the secular/material has never been clear-cut. Rather, it has been and remains fluid and constitutive. This special issue invites papers that shed new light on the dynamic, sometimes conflicting and sometimes synergistic relationships that exist between the sacred and the secular. We are particularly interested in analyses that tease out the subtle but pervasive influence of Christianity within the sociopolitical, economic, cultural and affective domains. Taking Korea as a case study, the special issue ultimately aims to offer significant insights into the intersection of the religious with the secular, material and social.